I was reading an old sales training book a few days ago, in which the writer made the comment that it is only polite to ask the person you are ringing if they have time to speak at the moment. This is a mistake. Please don't fall into this trap. When you are making a telephone call to encourage a prospect to buy your product or service, or even just to make an appointment, you walk a difficult line.
It is much easier to sell-face to-face as the customer can see you and can tell you are genuine. On the telephone the first few seconds are critical and it is important to avoid simple mistakes.
Let us imagine that you are a customer and I am a sales person. If I were to start the conversation with "Do you have time to speak to me at the moment" what are you thinking? My guess is that you are thinking negatively. You may be thinking, "Well I am busy, how much time will you be taking?" or you may simply be thinking, "This sounds like a sales person I had better be on my guard." However it goes, it will be negative.
Building a wall
It you ask the prospect if he has time to talk to you, you will be building a wall between you that will be hard to break down. Having greeted the prospect and introduced myself, I prefer to get straight into the reason for the call.
Sometimes, of course, the prospect will tell you that he is too busy, and this is your opportunity to practice your alternative close and make an appointment to ring him back:
"That's okay, John, we all get busy from time to time, when would be the best time to ring you back, would Thursday afternoon be good for you or would Friday morning be better?"
The grey area here, of course, is the cellphone. If you are ringing a customer on his cellphone then you will have to ask if it is okay to chat to him at the moment. If your customer sounds as if he is sitting in a small, echoing room, it is probably not the best time to be speaking to him.
As a matter of principle I don't ring customers on their cellphone unless there is no choice. The sound quality on the cellphone is not as good as a landline and sometimes you get an echo which does not help with the clarity of the conversation. Your customer may be in the car, with an important customer, with his family, or just having some quiet time on his own - you never know.
Using the telephone to sell can be very effective if it is done properly. You can make 30 calls in the same time it takes to visit one customer, and while your strike rate will probably be lower, even if it is one tenth of your strike rate when you are face-to-face, you will be making three times the sales.
Like many other things, this all comes with practice so get phoning and improve those skills, and don't forget, don't ask if they have the time.
I disagree with this completely. There is perhaps a fine line but let's let's look at what we're trying to accomplish on that initial call:
There is no relationship yet & unless you make an impact with the prospect in your first sentance, you are on the back foot. Now, there are many ways to forge impact eg: using cheezy tag lines..but do you really want to be the "pushy" salesman in your first sentance? Gut feel says "No! I want the customer to talk to me...I want to listen to him so I need to ask questions up front.
Analysis of telesales calls has shown that you only need 3 "yes/postive" responses before attempting to close. By starting with the "no", u already have a foot in the door - if you then get another "no" ie: to your alternative close, it's safe to say that the lead was not going to close...but at least it only took you 30 seconds to fugure that out instead of 5-10 min of chit chat.
On the flipside, if you get a "no" followed by a "yes, confirmed appointment", your lead quality just got much better and you would have done so without the client having to butt in to say a word...plus he knows who you are...as long as you were clear & confident in the opening line!!!
Believe me...the approach works...as long as you are a solution seller & not a bullshitter.
If someone calls me at work and tries to sell me something - without enquiring if it is convenient for me to speak to him/her, I get highly annoyed. The chances are good that I'll just want to end the call - especially as I'm called on my cell 99% of the time. I'm busy and at work - not the ideal time to listen to someone trying to sell me something.
Being polite doesn't cost a thing. I might be sitting on the loo when phoned....! Posted on 19 Jul 2006 12:15
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.